Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Thomas

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division

February 28, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DEMETRIUS D. THOMAS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT C. CHAMBERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before this Court are Defendant's four related motions: his Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (ECF No. 83), his Motion to Amend his § 2255 Motion (ECF No. 86), his first Amendment to his § 2255 Motion (ECF No. 92), and his second Amendment to his § 2255 Motion (ECF No. 105).

         Pursuant to an Order issued on March 7, 2016, this action was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Dwane L. Tinsley for proposed findings of fact and recommendation for disposition. ECF No. 84. On January 14, 2019, the Magistrate Judge submitted proposed findings and recommended that this Court deny Defendant's motions and dismiss this civil action from the Court's docket. Proposed Findings and Recommendation, ECF No. 108, at 14. Defendant now objects to the findings and recommendation. Objections to Proposed Findings and Recommendations, ECF No. 109 [hereinafter Objections]. For the reasons below, the Court adopts the proposed findings and recommendations of Magistrate Judge Tinsley, denies Defendant's motions, and dismisses this action from the Court's docket.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Plea and Sentencing

         On February 25, 2014, Defendant Demetrius Thomas was named in an indictment charging various controlled substance offenses. Indictment, ECF No. 16. Throughout his district court proceedings, Defendant was represented by court-appointed counsel, Sebastian M. Joy. See Transcript, ECF Nos. 66, 68.

         On May 5, 2014, Defendant entered into a written plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). Agreement, ECF No. 43. In the written plea agreement Defendant expressly waived his right to appellate review of his conviction and his sentence-so long as the sentence did not exceed the maximum statutory penalty prescribed by law-and waived his right to a post-conviction collateral attack-except for any claim based upon ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. at ¶ 10.

         On May 5, 2014, Defendant pleaded guilty, in accordance with the written plea agreement, to the charge in the indictment. ECF Nos. 39, 42, 46. This Court conducted a thorough plea colloquy in accordance with Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, including receiving Defendant's acknowledgement of the rights he was waiving and his satisfaction with his attorney's representation. Transcript, ECF No. 66, at 7. Additionally, this Court specifically discussed with Defendant the appellate and collateral attack waivers, and Defendant acknowledged that he understood the effects of the waiver provision and the effect of his guilty plea. Id. at 11- 12.

         On August 4, 2014, Defendant appeared for sentencing. Transcript, ECF No. 68. This Court determined that Defendant's total offense level under the United States Sentencing Guidelines was 29, with a criminal history category of VI, yielding a guideline range of 151-188 months of imprisonment. Id. at 5. This calculation included an enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 after this Court found that Defendant qualified as a career offender based upon two prior controlled substance offenses. Id. at 4-5. However, this Court varied downward from the guideline range and sentenced Defendant to 120 months of imprisonment, followed by supervised release for three years. Id. at 17-19. A Judgment was entered on August 6, 2014. ECF No. 53.

         B. Appeal

         Defendant then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. ECF Nos. 59, 62. However, his attorney, Mr. Joy, filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), stating that he believed there were no meritorious grounds for appeal, but questioning whether the sentence was reasonable. Opinion, ECF No. 72, at 2. Defendant filed a pro se supplemental brief in which he asserted the following: (1) his guilty plea was not knowing and voluntary; (2) his sentence was not reasonable; (3) he was improperly designated as a career offender; and (4) his counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel. Id.

         On February 24, 2015, the Fourth Circuit affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence. United States v. Thomas, No. 14-4656, (4th Cir. Feb. 24, 2015). The Court held that Defendant's guilty plea satisfied Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and was knowing, voluntary, and supported by a sufficient factual basis. Opinion, at 2-3. The Court also found that Defendant's sentence was reasonable. Id. at 3. However, the Court declined to address Defendant's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, finding that because there was no evidence of ineffective assistance of counsel on the face of the record, the claim was better suited for review in a § 2255 motion. Id. at 5.

         C. Motion to Vacate Arguments

         1. Original Motion

         On March 3, 2016, Defendant, acting pro se, filed his first motion-a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2255. ECF No. 83. In the motion, Defendant asserts the following two grounds for relief: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel during plea ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.